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Queries and Agents => Literary Agents => Topic started by: JLArmentrout on September 13, 2010, 09:28:42 PM

Title: Bio
Post by: JLArmentrout on September 13, 2010, 09:28:42 PM

When an agent requests a bio from you, what do you typically write in it? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what is appropriate in a bio?
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Magic_Seeker on September 13, 2010, 09:39:15 PM
I think (not having an agent myself) they want the interesting stuff that can go on the back inside cover of your book.  :naughty:

Do you skydive, bungie jump, or climb mountains?  Have you had any weird or interesting jobs?

I suspect they'd like it best if it has something to do with your book.  That's what the micro-publisher for my non-fiction wanted.
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: JLArmentrout on September 14, 2010, 07:41:12 AM

I feel like a rather boring person . . . i think this bio will be harder to write than the synopsis or query
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: clutzattack on September 14, 2010, 08:42:50 AM
I wrote this one for myself and had too much fun with it. I usually leave it off, even if an agency asks for it, unless I get a vibe from reading the agent's blog that they might find it humorous.

Per your website’s request, I am providing the following for an Author Bio:

I have an Associate’s degree in Fashion Design, a commercial driver’s license, and am currently pursing a lifelong dream to become a career novelist. When I am not writing I enjoy eating Jell-O, drawing, and beating my husband’s top scores on Mario Kart Wii. I am a slave to one feline captor and my internet connection. Someday I hope to bowl a score over 125.

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Magic_Seeker on September 14, 2010, 09:20:52 AM
clutzattack - :rolf:

JRo - I'm pretty boring, too.  For my website bio, I created a list of the places I've lived, the various jobs I've done, and a mention of my little historical pattern business.

Do you have any hobbies?  Kids, cousins, cats?  Toss everything out here, and we'll try to help you find the interesting stuff.
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Sandy_Williams on September 14, 2010, 09:47:35 AM
JRo - I totally feel your pain. I'm dreadfully boring as well and had no publishing creds when I queried. Since I didn't have much to say about me, I just included a very brief couple of sentences at the end of the query and made the rest of that paragraph mostly about the agent and book.

Are they requesting a bio after reading your query? That always frustrated me because I didn't have anything more to add. The couple of times that happened, I expanded a tiny bit on what I wrote in the query. Really, though, the whole process is about the book. That's what they base their decision to rep or not on, not the bio, so don't stress too much over it. (So easier said than done, eh?  :) )
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: JLArmentrout on September 14, 2010, 02:55:25 PM

They are requesting my bio along with my full request.

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: tradergirl on September 14, 2010, 06:15:23 PM
JRo - I totally feel your pain. I'm dreadfully boring as well and had no publishing creds when I queried.

Actually, Sandy, I take issue with this assessment.  What you are is young, and we all hate you a little bit for it.   :)

But, seriously, JRo I had this same problem, after my agent offered rep she asked me for a new bio.  I kind of handed back a slightly longer version of the old one.  She came back "no no-- tell me again about how you wrote the book."

In my case, I had done some research on some real people in order to write the thing.  The bio she went out to publishers with included that on-the-ground info.  She was setting up a whole story about the book, and my work on it.

Obviously, that won't work for every book.  But if you think you can add something substantive, go ahead with that now.  In the book "Making the Perfect Pitch" an agent said something like "while I'm reading your pitch, I'm also writing my own in my head."  This might be one of those moments when you can help the agent with that.

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Magic_Seeker on September 14, 2010, 06:26:49 PM
Hmmm.  Verrrrry interesting, Tradergirl.  :up:

Okay, JRo -- what in your life inspired your novel?   :wink:
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: JLArmentrout on September 14, 2010, 06:34:38 PM
What inspired my novel?

Oh . . . I don't think I can answer that in a public novel or in my bio, and still get an agent.  >:D

But it did involve one of these lines when I was reading a well known author's book .. . "If this Sh^% can get published . . ."

I'm only half kidding there

I just wrote the basics, thru some personality in there. It was very boring, short, and well . . . boring.

But you all gave good tips.
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: edentyler on September 25, 2010, 12:53:38 PM
The agent who just requested my full this morning specifically wants a half page narrative bio of me emphasizing and listing writing creds, pub history and sales blahblah.
But, like most people, I put all the last info in my query. So, sorry if I'm asking something that's been answered that I don't get, but basically I'm just supposed to expand on that with info about myself -- where I'm from, life, job, interests, school, etc... and then weave in the pub info???
This is my second query (the first was from a 'no response is a no' type of agency), then this agent jumped straight from the query, plus first two chaps pasted, to a full request. So even with almost two years of researching all of this, I'm still super new to the game...as far as books and agents go  :huh:
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Magic_Seeker on September 25, 2010, 02:37:15 PM
 :eek:  Eek, edentyler!  That's a hard one.  I've never been asked for such a long bio.

I think I'd relist your writing credits, and add a list of places you've lived and interesting jobs you've held, especially the ones that relate to your novel.  Make it the sort of thing you'd put in the "About Me" page of your website; you can reuse it there later.  :wink:

Congrats on your full! :toast:

 :up:  First karma to you.
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: reallyrosie on September 25, 2010, 03:27:47 PM
Hey JRo,

Short and sweet is good. I like TG's idea about linking something in it to your book. Here's mine from RedRoom:

A Jersey girl born and bred, I'm proud to call my feisty little state home. Though I live in the suburbs, my heart is at the shore, which provides the setting for much of my work. An English teacher for almost twenty years, I've also published a non-fiction book and several articles, but it was only recently that I turned to fiction. My first novel, a romantic comedy, is currently out on submission.

(Though first novel didn't sell, and is no longer out on sub. Hoping Book 2 will be out soon!)

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: Locke on September 27, 2010, 04:27:43 PM
I've always read that bios should be written in third person.  Is that incorrect?
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: reallyrosie on September 29, 2010, 06:35:31 PM
Hi Locke,
Yet another "it depends" from the publishing world. Mine is in first because it appears on my blog. If my agent were sending it out to an editor, for example, I'd shift it to third. If an agent asks for it, it could probably go either way.

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: MaryL on September 29, 2010, 07:09:16 PM
My bio is in first in my query and on my blog.  It's in third on my website.  I've no idea which version my agent sent to my publisher.
Title: Re: Bio
Post by: HorsebackWriter on October 03, 2010, 01:33:18 AM
I feel goofy sharing mine, but will, in case it helps. I kept mine short and sweet -- going for interesting in lieu of my lack of publishing creds. I thought it tied in well, also, as there are always horses in my novels.

As Deb mentioned, I adapted my bio from the About Me page of my blog.

Author Bio:

Emily Murdoch lives on a horse ranch in rural Arizona, where the tranquil beauty and rich wildlife often enter into her poetry and writing. She provides sanctuary for abused and slaughter-bound equines and works to raise awareness of the plight of America’s unwanted horses.   

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Emily hopes her penchant for writing will do just that.

(The great part about the bio is once you write it, you always have it to whip out!)

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: HorsebackWriter on October 03, 2010, 01:40:11 AM

Here's more info on bios in an Absolute Write thread: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=135013

Title: Re: Bio
Post by: munley on October 03, 2010, 06:55:25 AM
When I was asked to submit a brief bio for a story accepted in the Arkansas Review, I went to the publisher's web site and looked at the bios in previous issues. This gave me an idea of the appropriate length and focus, as well as answered whether to write it in first or third person.

Possibly the agent's web site includes a page of information about the authors the agent already represents. You could use them as general models.